Australian band has opportunity for drummer

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A new year is often the best time for a new start and for one lucky drummer looking to make a big move in 2015 that opportunity has arisen.

The opportunity is for a year in the sun and it has presented itself in Australia.

Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Pipe Band, from Sydney, are looking to recruit an experienced drummer to work with the band for 12 months.

And they have cast the net far and wide with the offer of paid travel available for the right candidate.

I caught up with pipe major Barry Gray, who explained: “An exceptional opportunity exists for a motivated, experienced drummer to take on a role within our band teaching a young group of Grade 4 drummers one night, and the other night playing in or leading our Grade 3 drum corps.

“We are looking for motivated drummer who would like to experience life in a different city and country. For committing to play with the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Pipe Band for a 12- month period, for two nights a week, we will compensate the successful applicant by reimbursing their airfare. “Full-time employment can not be offered, however this opportunity may suit someone who may want to come to Australia on a one year working holiday.

“Our offer is to assist in covering your airfare in return for two nights per week playing and assisting to teach within our band.”

While a full-time job would have to be found once the person arrived, Barry has suggested that supplementation of income could be obtained by assisting other bands or finding more learners to teach.

Pipe band fans in Northern Ireland may recall the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley Pipe Band from their visit to the 2010 European Championships at Stormont, however the links between Pipe Major Gray and the Province are already well established.

He was instrumental in bringing a number of players out to his Grade 1 band including drummer Frazer Graham, formerly of Ravara and now resident in Australia; piper Graham Wilson, who is currently with Ravara; and drummer Mark Jackson, formerly of Cullybackey and currently resident in Northern New South Wales.

For full details contact Barry Gray on

The second term of the year for the RSPBANI School begins on Saturday, January 17, however for staff the work starts today.

Keen to keep abreast of best practice the RSPBANI School staff will participate in a refresher course which will cover a range of issues including child protection; examination technique; music writing; and playing standards. Theme for the day is “Musical excellence through learning together”.

For pupils the work gets underway next Saturday and returning students are expected at the usual venues for the start of classes at 9.30am in Edenderry PS (Banbridge); Cookstown PS (Cookstown); Enniskillen Integrated (Enniskillen); and Lisneal Integrated (Londonderry).

Any piper, drummer, beginner or novice drum major considering enrolling for the first time should note that Saturday, January 17 is the only enrolment day this term for each of the school’s centres. The fee per student is £30.

Seminars in Pipe Band Musicianship continue this term and new students who wish to enrol and who hold the entry qualifications for the PBM 1 and 2 courses should contact Winston Pollock on email:

Cottown Pipe Band is currently looking for anyone interested in learning pipes or drums. Tuition is free and the band meets on Monday evenings at 8pm in Ballygrainey Orange Hall, Six Road Ends, Bangor.

Further information can be found on the bands Facebook page or contact their pipe major John Griffiths on 07870 107 384.

The Irish Piobaireachd Society’s Annual Contest will take place on February 7, commencing at 10am in the Firgrove Hotel, Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Adjudicators for the event are Colin MacLellan (Edinburgh), Alastair Dunn (Glasgow) and Margaret Dunn (Glasgow).

Playing requirements are as follows: Beginners – Play Ground own choice; Under 18 – Play 1 tune own choice; Intermediate – Play 1 tune own choice; Open – Submit two tunes play one; F/W Piobaireachd – Submit two tunes play one; F/W MSR – Play 1 own choice; Bratach de Paor – Best overall former winner.

The competition will be followed by a master class concert. The entry fee is €10.